How to Build a Hair Regimen | What is a Regimen? (1/4) All / Features / Haircare / How-to

The key to attaining long hair can be summed up by one simple equation:

If the amount of hair grown is GREATER THAN the amount of hair lost THEN long hair will abound

It’s all about retention really as hair generally grows regardless of what we do or don’t do. What a good regimen does is help us hold on to what we grow by keeping it healthy. Thus a regimen is a series of actions and activities which help to achieve the following:

A winning battle plan involves a combination of both these strategies; though tackling hair loss usually comes first as this is often the most obvious and pressing problem most people deal with when they first start on a healthy hair journey. Techniques and products to encourage hair growth are a secondary consideration but can in time have a part to play. Before we can begin to work towards minimising hair loss however, we must first understand the potential causes. We use the term ‘hair loss’ very broadly to cover both the voluntary and involuntary loss of hair from the head.

CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS

Damage/Breakage

The most common form of hair loss is via damage/breakage caused by poor hair maintenance. Neglect is the number one reason why many Black women struggle to grow their hair past certain lengths. Lack of knowledge, time or motivation are three of the most regularly used excuses for neglecting ones hair. A good regimen however uses information specific to your hair and scalp, takes into account your schedule and time constraints and produces positive results which in turn is a great motivator.

*Relaxing, combing, using straighteners, all these activities can also cause damage to hair when used improperly. Part of a good regimen involves limiting these activities and in some cases, stopping all together.*

Scalp/skin disorders (e.g. Eczema and Psoriasis)

Scalp disorders such as Eczema, Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis can lead not just to hair loss but can also stunt the natural genetic growth rate. It is vital to see a Dermatologist or Trichologist to help resolve these issues; they should NOT be ignored as the hair loss could become permanent. Both of us suffer from Seborrheic Dermatitis, in fact it runs in our family and we noticed a marked improvement in our growth rate once we had the condition under control.

Underlying health issues (i.e. Thyroid or other hormonal imbalances)

Many autoimmune disorders such as Graves disease and Lupus can cause temporary hair loss; in fact Alopecia itself is considered an autoimmune disease. It’s important to see a healthcare professional if you are experiencing unexplained or excessive shedding as it may be a symptom of a bigger problem. Tola herself suffers from Graves disease which if left untreated can cause hair to become brittle.

Poor Diet

Healthy hair growth starts from within and when lacking vital nutrients, the body often compromises on non-essential areas such as nails, skin and hair. A good diet should have sufficient protein and include the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Excessive trimming

It seems obvious but trimming too regularly will not make your hair grow! Trimming serves an important function in removing split ends which can travel up the hair shaft and cause more damage if left alone. The frequency of trims depends on how much chemical and mechanical damage the hair is subject to. If you comb and use direct heat regularly then you will probably need to trim more frequently than someone who is heat free and protective styles the majority of the time.

Do you suffer or think you might suffer from any of these hair loss issues? How has if affected you and how have you dealt with it?

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we discuss hair type and how it shapes a regimen.

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Tola

I’m a mother, haircare enthusiast, budding writer and science fiction geek. I love all things hair related and I’m on an epic journey to learn all that I can and in turn share all that I can. www.mylonghairjourney.co.uk is my way of doing that!

Comments

  1. Blessing Ofili Says: May 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I’m so grateful for this info; much needed thank you

  2. Two of the things that you have missed on your list that are known to cause hair loss and hair thinning in women:

    Iron –
    Women tend not to eat a lot of red meat and if they menstruate/recently had a baby/donate blood then ferritin levels may be at a level not high enough to to maintain hair let alone grow it.

    Lots of women are tested by the doctor for Haemoglobin which may be fine but not ferritin. Ferritin is the body’s iron stores and the lab range starts at a value so low that if you are at or near this level you will not feel well.

    If you are anaemic or have a low ferritin level your hair may also have a red tint to it. So if your doctor does your haemoglobin and it comes back fine but your hair has a red tint to it, you are losing it and you feel tired ask them to test your ferritin levels.

    Vitamin D –
    If you are a person of colour or a white person who uses sunscreen all the time then you are likely to be deficient if you live in the UK.

    Vitamin D is made by the skin from the Sun and only from April to September is the sun high enough in the UK for the body to make sufficient amounts of Vitamin D on sunny days.

    While the Department of Health recommends that if you are a person of colour or recently had a baby that you should only have a blood test if you have aches you should actually ask for the blood test if you are losing hair and feel tired for no reason as the test can be done that the same time as tests for your iron level.

    You may find resistance from your GP who may refuse to test you due to the cost of the test and the supplements if you are found to be deficient rather than just insufficient. However as your levels get lower you will have symptoms like unspecific bone pain, back pain, muscle aches, pins and needles. If your level gets really low you can fracture a finger or toe if you are lucky or a leg if unlucky.

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